Louise Brueggemann, children’s services supervisor at the Naperville Public Library’s 95th Street location in Chicago’s western suburbs, spotlights books that are particularly popular with young cardholders at her library.
One book that comes to mind is Every Soul a Star by Wendy Maas. It’s a heartwarming story about three very different kids who come together to watch a total solar eclipse one summer and the experience changes their lives. Maas’s earlier book, 11 Birthdays, has remained popular, and kids ask for her by name. It helps that Every Soul a Star is on the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award list, which is an Illinois state children’s choice award.
Another popular book is Dan Gutman’s Mission Unstoppable, the first book in the Genius Files. His My Weird School series has been phenomenally popular, and kids love series books. This new book, about two twins on a family road trip who get involved in solving a mystery, has all those nice Gutman touches—fun graphics and little puzzles in sidebars. It’s graphically interesting and leaves you hanging. This book has also gotten attention because it’s on our local Battle of the Books list, and has been our library’s very top circ’ing book for the last three months.
A book that continues to be popular is Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which of course won the Caldecott and which kids love. I love watching the way parents react to this book. Even though their kids have read the Harry Potter books, they often try to tell them that it’s too thick for them to tackle. But it’s a wonderful merging of the novel and picture-book formats.
And I’d say the book that younger kids ask for most is Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann. It’s been out since 2006, but it’s been a fun one for kids, especially this summer. It’s about girls who are into everything pink and princessy, and it’s a clever little story that’s subversive in that way that the best picture books are. It’s interesting, because older kids will ask for specific chapter books and novels themselves, but with picture books, it’s usually the adults who ask for books by title. But this isn’t the case with Pinkalicious. Little girls are asking for it themselves.